Amazon unveils robot that can follow you around the home

'Astro' the android trundles around the house and can alert owners to possible trouble

Amazon's new Astro device can hear, see and follow you around your home, but it's not quite Rosey the Robot.

Unlike the animated character from “The Jetsons" cartoon series, Astro doesn’t cook or clean -- but it can check if you left the cooker on while you’re out, or send an alert if someone enters the house it doesn’t recognise.

The $1,000 robot, which trundles around on three wheels, will be available later this year. It was one of a slew of gadgets Amazon unveiled on Tuesday as part of its annual event ahead of the US holiday seasons.

Astro, however, stole the show. Amazon executive David Limp asked the 43-centimetre tall robot to come on stage during the virtual event, then asked it to beatbox. Its round digital eyes close or widen as it does tasks.

Astro uses cameras, sensors and artificial technology to avoid walls or dogs, and Amazon said the machine will only get smarter as time goes on.

It can perform rudimentary chores: Snacks or a beverage can be placed on its back to be carted to another part of the house.

Amazon said a limited number of Astros will be sold initially, but didn’t say how many.

Besides the robot, Amazon also unveiled a picture frame-like screen that can be hung to a wall and has Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built in. The company foresees it going in the kitchen, where users can see recipes, check their schedule or watch a show as they cook.

Also on Tuesday, the Seattle-based company said its Echo listening devices will be put in Disney hotel rooms next year so that guests can order towels from room service or ask it the fastest way to get to a theme park.

It will also come with a paid feature that is expected to launch next year and will let users interact with Disney characters with the 'Hey, Disney!' voice command.

Amazon has launched a number of new gadgets every year, including sunglasses with voice control and an in-home drone, that have not become massive sellers.

Devices make up for a fraction of Amazon's overall sales.

Updated: September 28th 2021, 9:29 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS